A vertical succulent garden provides a living picture you can hang indoors or out. Create the "picture" by turning the planter box on its side and attaching to the wall or other vertical surface like a painting. Most succulents grow slowly and require only minimal care, making them well suited for a framed garden. A combination of plant varieties adds color and texture to the design. Many different succulent varieties, such as house leeks (Sempervivum tectorum, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 8), produce small offsets that are just the right size for transplanting to a vertical frame
1 Lay a 2-inch-deep wooden box flat, with the opening facing up. If a box isn't available, cut a piece of plywood to fit the size a shadowbox frame and nail it to the frame to form a box with an enclosed back.
2 Cut a piece of 1/4-inch-wide mesh hardware cloth 1/2 inch larger than the outer edge of the box on all sides. Lay the cloth on top the box and staple one lower corner of the cloth to the corner of the box. Stretch the cloth tautly to the top opposite corner and staple in place with a staple gun. Staple the remaining corners, keeping the cloth taut. Add additional staples between the corners, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Trim off any overhanging hardware cloth.
3 Mix together equal parts potting soil, coarse sand and milled peat moss. Pour the mix on top the hardware cloth, shaking the frame gently so the mix sifts inside. Use the back of a spoon to help force the mix through the wire. Continue adding mix until the box is filled.
4 Water the potting mix until it's evenly moistened throughout. Add more mix as needed if it settles after watering so the box is filled to the rim. Water a second time.
5 Arrange the succulents on top the hardware cloth until you have a pleasing design. You can plant the succulents close together with minimal spacing. After you have your arrangement, lift the succulents from their pots and plant them in the mesh openings. Cut larger holes in the mesh with wire snips as needed so the plants can fit through.
6 Lay the box flat in a frost-free area that receives full sunlight. Begin watering the succulents two to three weeks after planting, when they begin to root. Provide enough water to lightly moisten the potting mix, but avoid soggy soil conditions.
7 Hang the vertical garden on a wall that receives direct, all-day sunlight. Remove the box from the wall, lay it flat and water once weekly.
Items you will need
- Staple gun
- 1/4-inch-mesh hardware cloth
- Wire snips
- Peat moss
- Potting soil
- Hanging nails or hooks
- Drill or screwdriver
- Install the hanging nails or hooks in a wall stud, which can support the weight of the heavy box. Smaller boxes are lighter and less likely to damage walls.
- Moisture condensation on the back of the frame can damage wall boards or paint. Staple a sheet of landscape plastic to the back of the frame to prevent moisture seepage.
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